Monday, April 15, 2013


by Marilynne Robinson
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, c2008.

Jack Boughton is coming home. He's always been the odd one out in a large family, yet his father, Reverend Boughton, and the rest of the family couldn't help but love him and worry about him. Now, after twenty years' absence, he returns to Gilead and his father and his youngest sister, Glory, who has also returned home and is now caring for their aging father.

Many of the events of this story are also told in the companion book, Gilead, which I read earlier this year and loved. Either book can be read first. Home is primarily from Glory's perspective, which makes the portrait of Jack different if no less poignant than Reverend Ames' musings in Gilead. Your heart breaks for the boy - and man - who feels that he is past all redemption, who expects that behind every loving word is a rebuke. The brother-sister dynamics between Jack and Glory as they dance around and try not to insult each other is spot on. I couldn't help but compare and contrast this story with the parable of the prodigal son, though exactly who is the prodigal in Home could keep a conversation going for a long time.

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